Most of us have heard about Frank McCourt’s famous novel, Angela’s Ashes. It was made into a famous movie, one that documents his tremendously difficult upbringing. What most don’t know is that Frank didn’t take up writing until he was 65. This makes sense. Writing is story-telling. To tell a story you have to have lived something worth reading, and typically one gains this experience with time and age. Frank McCourt isn’t the only story of a guy who has started his dream late in life and realized success. Colonel Sanders didn’t start Kentucky Fried Chicken until he was well into his 60’s. That’s a man who decided to start a restaurant business when he was in his 60s.
It is never too late to chase your greatest dreams, your most profound and nagging ambitions. Never. It is never too late to seek adventure, to take risks, to lose and rise from your ashes, like the legendary phoenix. It is, however, too late for excuses. Don’t dare wait another year to start living life and chasing your dreams. Don’t wait another month, another day, another minute. No breath is guaranteed. It is cliche. Although it is unlikely that you are going to kick the bucket tomorrow, but you are dying gradually.
You are moving closer and closer to death and it is time you stopped making the excuses that have confined you to a life that you, deep in your heart, in your soul, see as less than what you could be living, less than your potential would allow, and that your imagination can conjure. With each breath we take, we are moving closer to death. The more breaths, the nearer we come to our last. Which, if sound logic were brought into the conversation, the greater the feeling of urgency there should be in risking more and taking that leap of faith that our deepest desires require of us.
Ronald Reagan, possibly the greatest President since the Second World War, and one of the greatest presidents of all time, didn’t actually get into the presidency until he was 70. Andrea Bocelli, one of the world’s most famous opera singers, if not the most famous living opera singer today, didn’t start singing seriously until he was in his mid 30s, an age that most would see as illogical and unlikely to then go on and create success. Stan Lee, the famous creator of many of your favourite Marvel Comic super heroes, didn’t start drawing said heroes until he was 43, and his partner, Jack Kirby, was 44 when he created the Fantastic Four.
We are oddly creative at excusing ourselves from success yet we don’t bring that same creativity to creating success. We excuse ourselves from living the life we want to live because of our starting point. We say it is not the right time to start living our dreams, that tomorrow is a much more convenient time to begin. We even coerce ourselves into thinking it is too late to embark on a mission, an adventure, a dream we have kept hidden within, and confined to, our list of things we would die to do but deem unrealistic. Instead of making excuses to succeed, we excuse ourselves from the work and the risk that success requires.
History is riddled with men and women who started chasing their dreams years after most would have labeled it ‘too late’. Personally, I feel age shouldn’t restrict us from following our heart desires. If you are 30 or 40, 60 or 80, it doesn’t matter. You owe it to the fact that you are alive and breathing to make every breath count and this means chasing your heart’s deepest desires. It means running after your soul’s strongest ambitions. To do otherwise is to move away with what your heart would deem as living, into a purgatorial state where you are alive and well but not alive in the sense that you are creating a life that will be one day ended with a heart taken over by regret and consumed with it.